Focusing on improving your customer experience is a smart way to differentiate your brand and grow your business. But as some business leaders think about how to make their businesses known for delivering remarkable experiences, they get overwhelmed.

It's easy to understand why this is the case. Often, when examples are given about companies who consistently deliver noteworthy experiences, like Nike, Disney, Zappos, Virgin, and The Ritz-Carlton, the stories that are shared are over-the-top.

But delivering over-the-top experiences, particularly in every aspect of your customer journey is not what I'm recommending you do. This is especially important as you set out to get started on improving the experience your brand delivers.

Instead, focus on methodically implementing these four steps to transform your customer experience into one that consistently wins you more customers.

1. Make "consistency" your middle name.

You've got to show up on a regular basis. At a minimum, that means delivering the same predictable baseline level of quality in your products and services.

But it also means being consistent in the other places where your customers experience your brand. For instance, as you think about producing original content, and engaging on social media, put plans and systems in place that enable you to publish on a regular schedule. Whether it's once or twice a day, once a week, or once every other week, you'll have to decide what is right for you, your business, and your customers.

The key is that in whatever path you choose, is to do it without fail. Over time, your consistency will build trust with your customers.

Think about your own content consumption habits. Shows that don't air on streaming services have a very specific schedule with which they are published. As such, fans know that every Thursday, at 9pm they can count on having a new episode of their latest favorite guilty pleasure. 

2. Identify low-hanging fruit to improve.

Once you've gotten a good grasp on showing up consistently, the next step in improving your customer experience is to identify areas where you can start to get quick wins in your quest to deliver the remarkable.

You could start by incorporating photography that breaks away from the standard "stock photography" style that most brands use. Another idea is to start adding more personality to your copy, whether on social media, in your emails, or even the words you use on your signage.

Fast food chain Wendy's Twitter account definitely delivers more than just your standard experience. Their personality of the brand comes through loud and clear, even as they stay on brand. I laughed out loud when I saw this tweet.

3. Select defining moments to elevate.

After you've gained some quick wins with select areas of your customer experience, consider working on creating defining moments. In their book The Power of Moments, best-selling authors Chip and Dan Heath describe defining moments as "a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful." They add that these type of moments rise above the norm and "provoke not just transient happiness, like laughing at a friend's joke, but memorable delight."

Sprinkles bakery created a defining moment for me when they delivered my red velvet gluten-free cupcake via a cupcake ATM. Sharp Healthcare made a colonoscopy a defining moment, after deciding they wanted this procedure to make it to their customers' list of greatest life experiences.

You can elevate any experience to make it a defining moment.

4. Map out a plan for your entire customer experience.

The overall experience your company delivers is the sum totality of every interaction your customers have with your brand.

That's why as you embark on a quest to improve your customer experience, over time you'll need to work to ensure every touch point along your customer journey delivers the kind of experience that draws your customers closer to your brand, rather than pushing them away.

If you have a restaurant, for instance, you may have a delicious and innovative menu, but if your website doesn't provide basic information or frustrates your potential customers, they may never have the opportunity to experience your menu.

Improving all aspects of your customer journey is a process that will happen over time. Map out all the touchpoints your customers have with your brand, then prioritize which areas you'll tackle and when.

As you continue to work methodically in this area, in time you'll look up and see you've transformed your entire customer experience to be a remarkable one.

Published on: Feb 21, 2019